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Degnan v. Nordmark & Hood Presentations Inc.

Decided: January 30, 1981.

JOHN J. DEGNAN, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
NORDMARK & HOOD PRESENTATIONS, INC., A GEORGIA CORPORATION, JAMES NORDMARK, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS DIRECTOR OF NORDMARK & HOOD PRESENTATIONS, INC., AND ROBERT SHERIDAN, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



On appeal from the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Monmouth County.

Bischoff, Milmed and Francis. The opinion of the court was delivered by Bischoff, P.J.A.D.

Bischoff

This appeal involves the applicability of the Charitable Fund Raising Act of 1971 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) N.J.S.A. 45:17A-1 et seq. Specifically the issue before us is whether defendants fall within the definition of a professional fund raiser which is defined in the Act as follows:

N.J.S.A. 45:17A-3. Definitions.

(c) "Professional fund raiser." Any person who for compensation or other consideration plans, conducts, manages, or carries on any drive or campaign in this State for the purpose of soliciting contributions for or on behalf of any

charitable organization or any other person, or who engages in the business of, or holds himself out to persons in this State as independently engaged in the business of soliciting contributions for such purpose. A bona fide officer or employee of a charitable organization shall not be deemed a professional fund raiser.

Also of significance is the definition of a professional solicitor.

N.J.S.A. 45:17A-3(d).

(d) "Professional solicitor." Any person who is employed or retained for compensation by a professional fund raiser to solicit contributions for charitable purposes from persons in this State.

The facts are undisputed. Defendant Nordmark & Hood Presentations, Inc. is a Georgia for-profit corporation. It is not registered with the New Jersey Charities Registration and Investigation Section (hereinafter C.R.S.) within the Division of Consumer Affairs (N.J.S.A. 45:17A-8; N.J.A.C. 13:48-1.1). On or about July 18, 1978 defendants entered into a contract to produce a circus and to solicit contributions on behalf of the Kiwanis Club of Morristown, New Jersey, (Kiwanis). At that time Kiwanis was not registered with C.R.S. (N.J.S.A. 45:17A-4). Defendants solicited nearly $11,000 in gross receipts, of which Kiwanis received less than 15% or approximately $1,500. In August of the following year the parties entered into a similar contract and as before, neither party submitted the contract to the C.R.S. nor did they register with the C.R.S.

On February 7, 1979 the C.R.S. learned for the first time of defendants' activities when the Jersey Shore Exchange Club (Exchange Club), a registered charity, submitted an alleged producer's contract with defendants to C.R.S. Under the terms of the contract the defendants agreed to put on a circus for the Exchange Club for costs plus 50% of the profit. This agreement was not submitted to C.R.S. until ten months after the event. The contracts between defendants and the Kiwanis and the Exchange Club were similar.

On February 22, 1979 Franklin N. Swenson, chief of the C.R.S., notified the Exchange Club by letter that the proposed arrangements were illegal ...


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